Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has vowed to overhaul the NHS IT network, saying it would be unacceptable in any other 21st-century organisation.

The “bleary eyed” minister, who replaced Jeremy Hunt in July, said he saw first hand how staff were hindered by poor technology as he shadowed front-line staff during an overnight shift.

Mr Hancock reflected on his stint at Chelsea and Westminster hospital in a lengthy Facebook post, saying the IT has “so far to go” after he witnessed staff reverting to pen and paper.

He wrote of the “lack of technology”: “I was already motivated to improve the IT of the NHS – but boy! Chelsea & Westminster Hospital is one of the better trusts for IT, but even there there is so far to go.”

He added that a lack of “national interoperability standards” – whereby information can be shared across the NHS IT network – held staff back.

Last night I did the overnight shift at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and on board with the London Ambulance…

Posted by Matt Hancock on Friday, August 24, 2018

“Staff were hindered by IT in a way that we simply wouldn’t accept in any other organisation in the 21st century. Tonight has motivated me more than ever to sort this out: interoperable data standards are on their way.”

The West Suffolk MP added: “Operating on a 24-hour basis like hospitals do, you can’t depend on an individual knowing all. Handover is everything.

“This, if anything, makes the importance of improving tech even greater.”

The minister, who wore scrubs, visited wards and sat in with London Ambulance Service paramedics, also praised the “dedication and camaraderie” of NHS staff, adding that the experience would stay with him for some time.

Mr Hancock’s visit was welcomed by acting Royal College of Nursing boss Donna Kinnair, who urged him to also examine the other “many areas of concern”.

She said: “We welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to see for himself the pressure that dedicated healthcare professionals in the NHS face every day and night and his recognition of their outstanding commitment.

“We are also encouraged that he understands that improvements in technology are long overdue and has already stated his commitment to delivering this.

“However, beneficial though the IT overhaul will be, much more still needs to be done to address the crisis that the NHS faces, and we urge him to not only focus on technology but on the other many areas of concern as well.”

Mr Hancock last month announced a £487 million funding package to create the “most advanced health system in the world”, and vowed to drive culture change, working with staff to embrace the latest technology and innovation.

In his first speech in the role, he told staff at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds: “Tech transformation is coming.

“The opportunities of this new technology, done right across the whole health and care system, are vast, so let’s work together to seize them.”